How to Brush and Floss for a Healthy Smile
Good oral health requires regular dental exams and consistent at-home care. You visit your dentist every six months for an exam and a professional cleaning. That’s good, but not enough. Brushing and flossing are equally important if you want to avoid cavities and other oral problems that affect your health and appearance.
Many people do not know how to effectively clean their teeth – it’s a habit that has to be learned. Here are some tips for how to brush and floss:
The Right Way to Brush
Proper teeth brushing should take at least two minutes — that’s right, 120 seconds! That’s 30 seconds for each quadrant of your mouth. Use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gumline and hard-to-reach back teeth. Concentrate on thoroughly cleaning each section. If you use an electric toothbrush with an interval timer, you can easily keep track of the sections. If you’re not sure how to brush your teeth, ask your hygienist for tips that will improve your technique. Set a goal of brushing twice a day.
The Payback from Flossing
As any first-timer knows, flossing is not as easy as it looks. However, learning how to floss properly is basic for good oral hygiene. Flossing backs up your toothbrush. It cleans the tight spaces in between teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach. Proper flossing has a big payback – helps keep your teeth healthy and beautiful for years to come. Floss once a day. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends flossing before you go to bed at night.
Early Habits for Oral Health
Even children can learn techniques for effective brushing and flossing. Ask your dentist or hygienist to show your young children how to brush and floss. Then keep track on a daily basis. The brushing goal is 2 minutes 2 times each day. Add to that a daily flossing routine and see the benefits that will help establish a lifelong habit.
Remember, beautiful teeth are healthy teeth!
Dr. Nishan Halim
Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in adult and pediatric restorative and cosmetic dentistry, as well as preventive dentistry, which is at the heart of this Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center. He and his staff will work with your family to learn how to brush and floss the most effective way. Schedule your appointment soon.